SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP/CBS13) — Prosecutors say a gun bust has led investigators to uncover $600,000 in pandemic-related fraud from California’s beleaguered unemployment agency, in what Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert called a “dangerous combination.”
Adrian Sykes, 24, was arrested Monday for the second time in the case, this time in Las Vegas.READ MORE: Cal/OSHA Votes To Drop Workplace Mask Rule For Fully Vaccinated Workers
He was initially arrested on February 2, 2021, after a traffic stop in Sacramento, where prosecutors said he was found with an illegal fully automatic handgun.
A search of his home turned up drugs, body armor and five guns including an assault rifle and two loaded unregistered guns, one a Mac-9 and the other an assault pistol, prosecutors said.
Investigators said they also found six state Employment Development Department debit cards.
Sykes was initially charged with six counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one of possessing drugs with a firearm, and one of being a felon in possession of ammunition.READ MORE: Patterson Woman, 46, Killed In Crash West Of Modesto
He posted bail and was released, but investigators followed up on the debit cards. Prosecutors allege that Sykes and his girlfriend, Brittney Murchison, 26, filed 35 fraudulent unemployment claims and obtained more than $600,000 using personal identifying information from victims nationwide.
Investigators say overall losses from widespread fraud in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and unemployment insurance benefits will top at least $11 billion.
Murchison was arrested in late May on 16 charges of unemployment fraud and one of identity theft.
Sykes is awaiting extradition to California to face another 35 counts of unemployment fraud and one of identity theft.
Sacramento County prosecutors said they don’t know if either has an attorney who could comment on their behalf.MORE NEWS: More Tree Limbs Drop In Summer — And Drought Isn’t Helping, Experts Say
District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, who is running for California Attorney General, called the “staggering” amount of unemployment fraud and a rise in illegal guns a “dangerous combination” that has “fueled a dramatic increase in violent crimes across the state.”